Guard your new Medicare card as carefully as you protect your credit card, and make sure your medical providers use your new Medicare number when they bill for services. These were two of the many valuable points made by AARP volunteer Ridge Multop during his “Medicare 101” presentation at Kings Park Library in Burke, Virginia, on August 15.
In the past, a Medicare recipient’s Social Security number also served as his or her Medicare number and was printed on the recipient’s Medicare card. Concerns about identity theft led AARP to call for a new Medicare card that did not have the Social Security number on it, resulting in the development of a card that substitutes an 11-character combination of numbers and letters. The new cards are being mailed out nationwide this year and, according to Ridge, all Medicare recipients in Virginia should have received theirs by now.
Ridge noted that various scams have popped up in connection with the new Medicare card. He emphasized that Medicare employees will not telephone recipients and ask for their Social Security numbers or other personal information to ensure they have received their cards. Nor will they call to offer expedited delivery of the card in exchange for a fee — the new cards are free.
Ridge also summarized the four Medicare subparts and various types of supplemental insurance, provided useful contact information relating to Medicare and Medicare fraud, and answered questions from the audience.
The presentation was part of a series on “Aging in Place” held at Kings Park Library on the third Wednesday of each month from 1:00 to 2:00 pm. On September 19, Branch Manager Helen Ignatenko will discuss resources available through the library and on October 17 AARP volunteer Suba Saty will discuss “Fraud and Identity Theft.”